Pollwatch Day 22 #GE2010 – Lib Dems at 28-29% in today’s polls

by Stephen Tall on April 27, 2010

Three polls published tonight:

    Populus in The Times … CON 36%(+4), LAB 27%(-1), LIB DEM 28%(-3)
    YouGov in The Sun … CON 33%(nc), LAB 29%(+1), LIB DEM 28%(-1)
    ComRes for ITV/The Independent … CON 33%(+1), LAB 29%(+1), LDEM 29%(-2)

The big shift is in the Populus survey – however, the last time they polled was at the peak of the Lib Dems’ post-debate surge, so the result is pretty much in line with other polls showing the Lib Dems hovering around the 30% mark – albeit the Tories are at their highest point since before Nick Clegg’s rise to fame.

I suggested in yesterday’s Pollwatch we might see a small shift away from the Lib Dems:

My hunch is that Lib Dem support will slip a little this week because of the media focus on the negative impact of a hung parliament with some ‘undecided’ Labour and Tory voters returning to the safe comfort of their status quo parties.

Until we’ve seen the third and fnal debate, though, I don’t think we’ll be any the wiser about what these poll fluctations might actually mean; and even then whether the polls translate into reality will depend on the effectiveness of the parties’ ‘get out the vote’ operations.

Anthony Wells’ UK Polling Report ‘poll of polls’ shows the smallest of shifts from the Lib Dems to the Tories:

    CON 34%, LAB 27%, LIB DEM 29%

Populus also conducted a Scottish-only poll which produced the following result:


    CON 16%, LAB 37%, LDEM 24%, SNP 19%

This is an amazingly strong recovery for the Lib Dems north of the border, and suggests the party will suffer no losses and may even make a gain or two come 6th May.

Will the pollsters get it right at this election? Anthony Wells looks at some of the reasons folk have said it might go awry – more young people voting, not accounting for mobile phone-inly (rather than landline) voters, an increased turnout – and concluded:

The bottom line on a lot of questions of whether pollsters would pick up a new trend is that pollsters don’t actually make many presumptions up front about how people will behave. With a few minor and well evidenced exceptions (such as Populus and ICM’s reallocation of don’t knows on the assumption they are likely to vote how they did last time), voting intention figures are based on what people tell pollsters, not the pollsters’ preconceived assumptions.

Things can go always go wrong of course, and I expect it’s more likely to happen at an election where there has been a large shift in support, but I can’t see any particular reason to expect the polls to get it wrong this time.